S01xE07: I Want to be You

Red is excited, Gobo's a jerk

Be yourself, kids! Even if your self is kinda self-centered and your friends don’t like you!

Red Fraggle can’t stand not to be the center of attention, so when demanding everyone watch her show off doesn’t actually work to get people’s attention, she decides people would pay more attention to her if she were more like someone less annoying, for example, Mokey. Except apparently she doesn’t actually understand why anyone likes Mokey, and picks the most ridiculous and annoying ways to imitate her.

But don’t worry, Red learns that her friends like her after all, as long as she’s saving their lives, as opposed to bullying them into doing stuff she likes.

Look, I don’t really know what to say about this episode. I don’t think I like it very much. The whole thing started when Gobo ignored Red even though she was really excited about her new slide thing, so, more evidence for my mounting theory that Gobo is actually a jerk?

Mokey and Mokey-in-training, singing to a beetle

I’ll be honest, I’m not real keen on “always be yourself” messages. I mean, no, you shouldn’t try to pick one person and be like them as much as possible, because probably you have good qualities that are yours alone and all that, and also that is kind of creepy, plus it never works. But there’s a lot more to being a person in society than just doing what you want all the time and acting on all your impulses because they’re “authentically you” and don’t ever change just because other people think your behavior is wildly inappropriate or hurtful or whatever. People have to make allowances for each other in order to get along.

Like, if you get the feeling lots of people don’t like you, and you want to be liked more, I don’t see what is wrong with trying to figure out what does make people likeable, and what it is that annoys people about you and trying to change yourself for the better! Sometimes when you are unpopular it is because you are a mean and selfish jerk, and I support selfish jerks trying to be less like selfish jerks.

On the other hand, sometimes when none of your “friends” pay attention to you or appear to like you, it is because you have managed to fall in with a group of jerks who are really unfair towards certain people or kinds of people, in which case it is probably time to find some friends who aren’t awful. Other possibilities include: talking to your friends and trying to be honest with each other. But none of these things happen in this episode, the message is that if you make your friends feel bad for not paying attention to you, everything will work out ok, and I’m not sure I can get behind that. Sorry, Fraggle Rock.

I mean the thing about Red is that she’s often not a great friend herself, you know? She doesn’t have any respect for Gobo’s uncle, and remember when she wouldn’t accept any of her friends’ help on her big swimming thing? Friendship is supposed to be reciprocal and Red hasn’t done a lot on her end so far!

I guess it’s true that that’s a lot of subtlety and introspection for a children’s show message (if people don’t like you, maybe you should spend some time considering why they don’t like you and whether or not you think that’s fair), but what else am I here for?

Also I think it’s actually kind of great that Red is loud and attention-seeking and convinced of her own greatness, so, never change, Red! But dump Gobo, he’s bad news.

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One response to “S01xE07: I Want to be You

  1. To me the difficulty in analysing using the comparitive full spectrum of behaviors that a person can exhibit, is due to framework that together each fraggle in the group of the major 5 exemplify a specific different personality type. Mokey is the introspective artistic one, Red the extroverted sports personality, Boober the fearful domestic, Wimbly the young undecisvie co-dependant, and Gobo, the leader trying to follow in his family’s footsteps. It’s the same in all the great children’s shows— Winnie the Pooh, Sessame Street, etc. The characters, while multi-dimensional to a point, most strongly can be identified and seldom deviate from their stereotyped role. This enables the lessons of each show to be articulated clearly so the children can easily identify and learn of the charateristics exhibited and the lesson being taught in whatever episode.

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